Russia will not give away gas for free – Kremlin

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The Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday his country will not supply natural gas to the European market for free, as euros and dollars will not be accepted from March 31. Peskov was commenting on the possibility of Western companies refusing to pay for gas in rubles.

His statement comes as some foreign buyers of Russian gas have expressed dismay over the currency switch for payments. German Energy Minister Robert Habeck said on Monday that the G7 countries refuse to pay Russia for energy resources in rubles.

“Once again, there is no free gas,” Peskov told reporters. In response to a question on whether the Kremlin is calculating the option that European counterparties will refuse contracts, the press secretary replied: “Of course.”

Peskov said that Western companies “must understand the conjuncture and the completely changed environment in the context of the economic war against Russia.” They “just need to buy rubles and pay for gas in Russian currency,” he said, noting “De facto, nothing really changes.”

Until March 31, all options for this process are being calculated, Peskov said, stressing that it will be possible to pay for Russian gas only in rubles. He added that Russia is interested in selling its gas, it’s a reliable supplier and has the best terms.

On Monday, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered the government, the central bank, and Gazprombank to develop the necessary tools to switch all payments for Russian natural gas from “unfriendly states” to rubles from March 31. The measure concerns countries that imposed economic sanctions on Russia and froze Moscow’s foreign reserves. Putin clarified that Russia will continue to supply gas in volumes and at prices fixed in the contracts concluded earlier.

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